Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Apr 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #14; Maine needs to turn it on.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

John Maine throws tonight for the Mets. I say throw, because he hasn’t done a whole lot of pitching lately. He’ll start strong, then unravel in Oliver Perez fashion.
MAINE: Needs consistency.

MAINE: Needs consistency.


Tonight its the Cardinals, who came from four runs down, and as the recipients of Daniel Murphy’s fielding blunders and Carlos Beltran’s decision not to slide at the plate, beat the Mets. It was arguably their worst game of the year.

With Maine on the mound, the Mets can’t afford another flawed performance. They have to do something they haven’t for most of the season, which is produce with RISP because there’s no promise Maine will be able to shut them down.

Apr 21

Not buying St. Louis link ….

OK, maybe in 2007 it was plausible, that the collapse at the end of the regular season can be traced to the loss in the NLCS to St. Louis. Sure, I can see where there could be a carry over.

But not now.

If the Mets don’t have a killer instinct now it’s because their players lack it, not because they lost with Aaron Heilman’s pitch in Game 7. We’re a dozen games into the season, way too soon to spot any definable personality for this team.

However, it isn’t too soon to spot some definite trends.

The bullpen is much better than it has been in the last two seasons, BUT because of the starters’ inability to go deeper into games there will be an eventual breakdown due to stress.

Johan Santana has been terrific, but the rest of the rotation has been a pocket full of change, which is to say a bunch of Coin Flips. I have no inkling as to what kind of start we’ll see tonight from Oliver Perez. None. Good last time, but bad before that …. bad several times. John Maine has started quickly and faded. Livan Hernandez has had a good and bad outing. Eventually, three-plus innings a night for the pen will carry a toll.

Another inconsistency has been their inability to hit with RISP. Jerry Manuel keeps saying they should score more runs, but putting the pressure on is more than baserunners.

Pressure is defined as scoring. That’s one of the reasons why I want Daniel Murphy down in the order where he’ll get more RBI opportunities. For that matter, I’d like to see Ryan Church back in the line-up, too. They are leaving RISP at an alarming rate that only serves to put pressure on both facets of the pitching and the offense collectively.

The Mets are in St. Louis tonight which reminded me of the NLCS. I don’t think that loss is in their heads. What should be in their heads is how erratic they’ve played this season.

The Mets are a .500 club not because of bad luck or injuries. They are a .500 club because what they deserve to be.

Apr 17

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #10; Willie returns.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

What kind of ovation should Willie Randolph get from Mets fans tonight? If fairness is in the equation, he should be cheered. How the Mets stumbled down the stretch last year and out of the gate this season, it’s clear the players must assume the lion’s share of the responsibility.

It’s an old saying, but neither Willie nor Jerry Manuel can hit in the clutch, and neither pitches.

The Mets aren’t hitting with RISP. Their starters are erratic. Their defense has been poor. It’s hard to blame all that on the manager, regardless of who he is. This is a flawed team.

Apr 16

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #9; Maine time.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

John Maine gave up a couple of long balls in his last start in Miami against the Marlins. But, he pitched well enough to win if the offense had gotten him another hit or two.

Hitting with RISP has been a recurring theme for the Mets over the past couple of seasons, and this year has started out the same way. They made the most of a bunt single, couple of walks and an error last night, but a bases-loaded double would have saved some angst.

Although Maine pitched well enough to win, he’s still not out of the woods as far as his shoulder is concerned. It will be a little cooler tonight than it was in Florida.

Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Jose Reyes, SS
Daniel Murphy, LF
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Delgado, 1B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Ryan Church, RF
Ramon Castro, C
Luis Castillo, 2B
John Maine, P